September 19, 2011
As part of its desperate attempt to stave off the disintegration of the Big 12 and preserve its spot in a major conference, Baylor announced Monday that it commissioned a "scientific survey" of residents of Big 12 states to get their thoughts on realignment.
That 76 percent of the 1,500 people polled weren't in favor of super-conferences is no surprise considering some of the loaded questions they were asked.
• In your opinion, how would college students be impacted, especially those who chose to go to schools with elite football teams, if conference affiliations required them to travel great distances to attend far away games?
• How disappointed would you be if historic college football rivalries in regional conferences were eliminated by the creation of a handful of super conferences with less regard for historic rivalries?
• I am going to read you two statements. After I read each statement, please tell me which one come closest to representing your current opinion about college football?
1. Regionally based football conferences that currently exist are the best option for student-athletes, alumni and fans of the teams competing.
2. Regionally based conferences should be replaced with a small number of Super conferences that are formed irrespective of geography.
Baylor's willingness to fight for its own interests is admirable, but its lack of transparency is insulting to the intelligence of fans and media members. The Bears may as well have asked whether people would prefer to see the Big 12 stay together or every felon in the Texas prison system be set free.
What's especially disheartening about Baylor's campaign to keep the Big 12 from falling apart is that the Bears refuse to publicly acknowledge the motivation behind it. Of course, the real reason the Bears are going to such great lengths to prevent Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech from leaving is they're fearful of being left out of a major conference, not because of any of the altruistic factors they've cited.
First came Baylor's campaign earlier this month appealing to Texans to demand solidarity and not "stand by and watch hundred-year-old rivalries be cast aside." Then came the threat of a lawsuit to try to short-circuit Texas A&M's deal with the SEC. And now comes this sham of a poll that is little more than propaganda upon closer inspection.
The ultimate irony, of course, is it was only 16 years ago that Baylor ditched its in-state peers from the now-defunct Southwestern Conference to accept an invitation to join the Big 12. Now that the situation is reversed, however, the Bears aren't handling being jilted as gracefully as they should.